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Enthusiasm for COVID-19 Vaccines Gains Momentum
February 26th, 2021
By Jill Drachenberg, Editor, Relias Media
Enthusiasm for the COVID-19 vaccines is growing quickly among adults in the United States, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). However, more work is needed to overcome vaccine hesitancy in some populations.
The results of the most recent KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor reveal a combined 55% of adults either have already received the vaccine (18%) or plan to receive it as soon as possible (37%) – an increase from 34% in December before vaccinations began. Twenty-two percent said they will “wait and see” how the vaccine works in others, down from 31% in January. The number of people who will only take the vaccine if required by work, school, or other activities (7%) or will not take it at all (15%) remained largely unchanged.
But while vaccine enthusiasm is growing, some doubts remain among certain racial and ethnic groups. Fifty-two percent of Hispanic adults and 41% of Black adults have received the vaccine or are planning to, compared with 62% of white adults. Thirty-four percent of Black adults and 26% of Hispanic adults indicated they will wait and see. Other findings:
- Most Black and Hispanic “wait and see” respondents are concerned about serious side effects of the vaccine (85% and 80%, respectively); are afraid they might contract COVID-19 from the vaccine (61% and 67%), or won’t be able to receive the vaccine at a location they trust (52% and 58%).
- Fifty percent of Black respondents were not too confident or not at all confident that the vaccines were adequately tested among people of their race/ethnicity, as were 35% of Hispanic respondents.
- Older adults (33%) and Democrats (52%) are more likely to want the vaccine as soon as possible. Rural residents (24%), Republicans (28%), and non-healthcare essential workers (24%) are more likely to refuse the vaccine outright.
Work is needed to overcome vaccine hesitancy. Many Americans, particularly Black Americans, might be skeptical of vaccines developed at “warp speed,” particularly given a lack of foundational trust because of past research abuses. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies must work to build trust by reaching out to minority communities and listening to their concerns, bioethicists told author Melinda Young in the February issue of IRB Advisor.
“You have to build trustworthy relationships before you ask something of the community,” said Rueben C. Warren, DDS, MPH, DrPH, MDiv, professor of bioethics and director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University. “You do that first by engaging people from that community. That’s not an automatic approval, but that’s a good start.”